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Monday, December 04, 2006

Sitting ducks

Israel's insecurity cabinet ordered the IDF yesterday to continue to exercise 'restraint' in the Gaza Strip, despite some fifteen Kassams that have fallen in the western Negev NotInMyBackYard since the cease fire hudna started last week. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert assured us all that if we don't exercise 'restraint' the 'cost of human life' could be higher. Despite the urging even of defenseless Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz to take action, Olmert insisted that Israel is 'strong enough' to allow the 'restraint' to continue. But not strong enough to defend Jews....

But it's worse. Yesterday, we were told that the insecurity cabinet had at least decided not to extend the hudna to Judea and Samaria. Today, Haaretz reports that it's not quite so simple.
The Israel Defense Forces will no longer arrest Palestinians in the West Bank without explicit approval from either the GOC Central Command or the commander of IDF forces in the territories, the diplomatic-security cabinet decided Sunday.

The decision is aimed at reducing tensions in the West Bank that could disrupt the fragile cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.
If two phone lines are busy, the units in the field cannot arrest anybody. As you might imagine, the IDF is not thrilled with this:
However, the IDF opposes expanding the cease-fire to the West Bank, saying that terrorist organizations have no intention of stopping attempts to launch attacks from there, and without the army actively thwarting these attempts, suicide bombings inside Israel are liable to resume.
Maybe that's what Olmert is waiting for? But why?
The cabinet also forbade the IDF to open fire on Qassam rocket launchers in Gaza, even though rockets continue to be fired at Israel from the Strip in violation of the cease-fire. Sunday, one rocket landed in the western Negev, though no one was hurt.
You got that? The IDF sees someone launch a Kassam, the Kassam hits a civilian target, and the IDF is not allowed to do anything about it. And you wonder why the entire town of Sderot lines up when Gaydamak's buses come calling? But wait, there's more:
In addition, army sources said, the cabinet decided that targeted killings of terrorists will now require approval from both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz. Formerly, the approval of IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz was sufficient.
Like Olmert or Peretz know anything about the IDF.... If I'm Halutz, this is what would make me quit.

And lest you all think this isn't a change, I'm going to tell you that I actually agree with Peretz for once:
Prior to Sunday's cabinet decision, brigade commanders could decide on arrests in the West Bank on their own, unless the operation was considered particularly complex.


The new rules of engagement were not well received by field officers on the Gaza border, who worried that terrorist organizations will exploit the opportunity to carry out attacks, and that the IDF will be prohibited from trying to prevent them. However, a senior officer stressed, "our professional opinion is irrelevant once an order [from the cabinet] has been received."

In adopting the new, more stringent rules of engagement in Gaza, the cabinet sided with Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni against Peretz, who advocated the army's view that preventive strikes on Qassam launchers should be permitted. Peretz argued that the government should not be gambling with Israeli lives in order to preserve a cease-fire that is still being only partially observed.

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter, a former Shin Bet security service chief, was the only cabinet member who backed Peretz on this issue.
YID with LID makes what is unfortunately a valid comparison between where we stand now and where we were just before the Arabs started the Yom Kippur War in 1973:
Right now, Israel is now in more danger than she has been at any time since Egypt almost overran the Israeli Armored Corps during the Yom Kippur War over 3o years ago. Both 1n 1973 and today the reason for the danger is the same, an Israeli government that is putting its "international standing" before the lives of her soldiers and civilians.

In 1973 Golda knew what was coming, but she was warned by Sec of State Kissinger not to build up troops or to strike first. My friend Avi, who was a tank commander at the time, told me that if wasn't for President Nixon's airlift of weapons there would be no Israel today.

Olmert is facing similar pressure today from Secretary of State Rice, but the difference is Olmert created the problem himself. When Soldiers were kidnapped on the Lebanese boarder he struck with a vengeance for a few hours. Then instead of trying to win the battle, he just bombed as many Hezbollah installations as possible. When he was told by his generals that Israel need to fight the battle on the ground, he delayed, thus giving Hezbollah what is at least a psychological victory, and emboldening Israels enemies all over the world.
Read his post, re-read this post, and read what I wrote 'last night' (a few hours ago) about what's going on in Lebanon. Ben Gurion really is rolling over in his grave. We are sitting ducks and Olmert, Livni and Peretz (Peretz a little less today) continue to fiddle as Israel burns.


At 12:33 PM, Blogger Michael said...

There's really only one solution right now: a massive bombing campaing of Damascus, after announcing that Syria's open support of Hezbollah, the weapons smuggling, and the sanctuary given to Hamas can no longer be tolerated.

A military humiliation of Syria might go a long way toward vitiating these issues. It would show Hezbollah and Hamas that their closed patron cannot protect them, and right now, Iran hasn't got the nukes to answer as they want.

It makes no sense to wait until your enemy is strong enough to hurt you. You must hit him first, if that is what it takes to avoid the blow.


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